by Capt Mullet
The dog days of summer are over and we are now getting in to the best season of the year to be on the water. We have a lot to look forward to this fall including bird activity, the flounder run, the beginning of wading season and just plain excellent fishing.I love kidfishing!!
The birds have started to show up in spurts already near areas of freshwater drainage sheds and lakes. Outgoing tides are best but don't plan on targeting the birds just yet. It will take a few more weeks and some major cold fronts to pull those shrimp out of the marsh en mass to get the major bird activity going. Fishing the birds is not always a no brainer. Stealth is the key. If you find yourself pulling up to a set of birds and they dissipate quickly then you know that you were too loud and you will need to drift or troll in from a farther distance. If the fish are skittish then sometimes you will never be able to get on them. Plastics that are very durable are your best bet to throw under the birds. I prefer a Glo Norton Sand Eel Jr. as my go to bait for fishing the birds but any plastic will work like a TTF Hackberry Hustler or Trout Killer. The key is having a hard durable bait that will catch lots of fish without having to change it every other fish. Stay away from throwing softer baits like Bass Assassins and Big Nasty's. These are excellent products but you don't want to catch one fish per plastic and waste them on a feeding frenzy of smaller fish so to speak. Typical areas to look for birds will be Trinity Bay, Tabbs Bay, Clear Lake, West Bay and East Bay.Low pressure redfish!
We have already had a few small cold fronts hit our area and it seems like after each of these fronts we end up catching a flounder or 2. So the migration is starting and it is time to be prepared. When I am targeting flounder I prefer a heavier jighead like a 1/4 or 3/8 oz. The idea is to maintain constant contact with the ground. Any plastic or spoon will catch flounder but I prefer a white or glo Berkley gulp shrimp. The 4 inch version is the one I use exclusively. A stiff rod is needed for those very hard hook sets needed to pierce the bony mouth of a flounder. Live bait is not needed but if you have kids or someone inexperienced a tandem rig will be a good choice for them. Use a 12 inch leader of 30lb test tied on to your leaders swivel and put a very sharp #6 treble hook with a live shrimp on it and this will do the trick for the inexperienced. Flounder season is my absolute favorite 3-4 weeks of the year. If you have never specifically targeted flounder then you should try it this year. I promise you that it will be a blast!! Areas along shorelines, walls, rocks, drainages and the intracoastal canal are all good places to look for flatfish. Dragging the bottom until you feel that flounder thump is the best way to catch them. A small count of 3 before you rip there lips off with a very hard hookset will cause the hook to penetrate and keep them from spitting the hook at the last minute. Nice Flounder up against the wall!
Trout and redfish seem to be everywhere from October thru November and targeting them on live bait like a shrimp and popping cork is just as effective as using plastics and topwater lures. Clear Lake, Trinity Bay, East Bay and West Bay all seem to shine during these 2 magical months. As cooler temps arrive the fish tend to pull out of their deeper haunts and look for shallower venues like shorelines and reefs. They leave their deeper holes because water temperatures become more comfortable for them. Shallow flats offer better feeding opportunities also. The lack of a large water column means their pray can not escape as easily with less water to "swim away from the predators chasing them". Future fishing guide!
Wadefishing the shallow flats will get good again soon. At the time of this posting we are still early in the wading season but as fronts come thru and water temperatures drop wadefishing becomes the best way to not only catch larger female trout but also to find schools and really work them over without spooking them. Large female trout do not get big because they are dumb. Somehow they have learned earlier in life that boat noise and hull slaps mean danger and they stay clear of these dangerous vibrations and pressures they feel in the water with their lateral lines. The wadefishermen will typically be like a hunter stalking his pray by silently moving thru the water making fan casts while keeping his eyes and ears open for signs of feeding fish. Looking for slicks, boils and nervous bait is the main focus of the angler who is aware of his environment and in the "zone". Wadefishing is an art and like any type of fishing it takes experience on the water to master its skills and techniques. Being focused on what is going on in the natural environment around you is the key in my opinion to recognize what is happening and becoming a good wadefishermen.The Mother Lode!!
Take a kid fishing. The future of our sport relies on it!